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Our Scarred Earth

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posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 09:17 AM
Galileo built his first telescope in late 1609, and turned it to the Moon for the first time on November 30, 1609. He discovered that, contrary to general opinion at that time, the Moon was not a perfect sphere, but had both mountains and cup-like depressions, the latter of which he gave the name craters. Today, thanks to advancements in technology, we can see in incredible detail the craters that cover the moons surface - we even have names for most of them!

But one question that is commonly asked is; why does Earth not have these same formations upon it's surface?

Well, to the surprise of some, Earth is actually hit by far more of these particles than the moon is. This is because it is a larger target and has stronger gravity to attract more space debris. On the ground, we are protected by the atmosphere, which we rely on for so much. This blanket of air slows down the material that slams into it, keeping us safe. The moon is without such an atmosphere.

But that doesn't mean we haven't had our fair share of impact events in our time, and now, thanks to advancements in aerial photography, we are finding more and more examples of Earth's turbulent past...

The Sudbury Basin

The Sudbury Basin, also known as Sudbury Structure or the Sudbury Nickel Irruptive, is a major geologic structure in Ontario, Canada. It is the second-largest known impact crater or astrobleme on Earth, as well as one of the oldest.

The full extent of the Sudbury Basin is 62 km long, 30 km wide and 15 km deep, although the modern ground surface is much shallower. The basin formed as an impact from a bolide approximately 10-15 kilometers in diameter that occurred 1.849 billion years ago in the Paleoproterozoic era.

Debris from the impact was scattered over an area of 1.6 million square kilometers and traveled over 800 km away — rock fragments ejected by the impact have been found as far as Minnesota (though models suggest that for such a large impact, debris was most likely scattered globally, but has since been eroded away).

Vredefort Crater

Vredefort crater is the largest verified impact crater on Earth. It is located in the Free State Province of South Africa and named after the town of Vredefort, which is situated near its centre.

The asteroid that hit Vredefort is one of the largest ever to strike Earth (at least since the Hadean) and is estimated at 5–10 km (3.1–6.2 mi) wide. The crater has a diameter of roughly 250–300 km (155–186 mi), larger than the 200 km (124 mi) Sudbury Basin and the 170 km (106 mi) Chicxulub crater. This makes Vredefort the largest known impact structure on Earth.

It is the second-oldest known crater on Earth, a little less than 300 million years younger than the Suavjärvi crater in Russia.

The Manicouagan Crater

The Manicouagan Crater is one of the oldest known impact craters and is located in Manicouagan Regional County Municipality in the Côte-Nord region of Québec, Canada, about 300 km (190 mi) north of the city of Baie-Comeau. It is thought to have been caused by the impact of a 5 km (3 mi) diameter asteroid about 215.5 million years ago (Triassic Period). It was once thought to be associated with the end-Carnianextinction event, but the Carnian-Norian boundary is now known to be much older, around 228 million years ago.

The crater is a multiple-ring structure about 100 km (60 mi), with its 70 km (40 mi) diameter inner ring its most prominent feature; it contains a 70 km (40 mi) diameter annular lake, the Manicouagan Reservoir, surrounding an inner island plateau, René-Levasseur Island. It is the earth's fifth largest confirmed impact crater

Barringer Crater

Barringer Crater is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. The center of the crater is filled with 210–240 m (700–800 ft) of rubble lying above crater bedrock.[1] One of the interesting features of the crater is its squared-off outline, believed to be caused by pre-existing regional jointing (cracks) in the strata at the impact site.

The crater was created about 50,000 years ago. At the time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths.

The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (54 yards) across, which impacted the plain at a speed of several kilometers per second. It is believed that about half of the impactor's 300,000 metric tons (330,000 short tons) bulk was vaporized during its descent, before it hit the ground.

The impactor itself was mostly vaporized; very little of the meteorite remained within the pit that it had excavated.

Clear Lakes

These two lakes were formed simultaneously from a meteor that broke apart in our atmosphere and crashed into the surface over 290 million years ago. The largest of the lakes is over 20 miles (32 km) across! As you can guess by their name, both are known for their remarkably clear water.

Bosumtwi, Ghana

This nearly perfect circular crater is Ghana’s only natural lake. Carved out of crystalline bedrock found in the West African Shield, Lake Bosumtwi was formed over 1.3 million years ago. The crater is an impressive 6 miles (10.5 km) across.

Deep Bay, Canada

Deep Bay, Canada – Another striking circular crater, this lake in Saskatchewan, Canada was formed around 100 million years ago by a very large meteorite. The impact left a hole 8 miles (13 km) wide that over time filled with water from nearby Reindeer Lake.

Wolfe Creek, Australia

Wolfe Creek, Australia – This relatively young and small crater has been preserved in the arid desert of northern Australia. It’s partially buried under the continuous streams of sand that blows through the region. Estimated to be a mere 300,000 years old, this crater is less than a kilometer wide and was only discovered by scientists in 1947.

Aorounga Crater, Chad

Aorounga Crater, Chad – Yet another crater somewhat preserved by a desert landscape, the Aorounga Crater in Africa is almost 8 miles (12.9 km) wide. But when the area was scanned by Space Shuttle SIR-C radar, images revealed two more rings of similar size (possibly 2 more craters) to the east of the visible crater. If all of these craters were formed at once, scientists believe the meteor could have been anywhere from a half-mile to full mile across!

Southwest Egypt

Southwest Egypt – This crater is one of the most recent discoveries by scientists using new tools like Google Earth. Found using satellite images in 2008, thissmall crater in the deserts of southwestern Egypt is only 45 meters wide and perhaps a few thousand years old. It makes you wonder if the Egyptians knew anything about it!

So the next time you're looking through Google Earth for top secret military bases or perhaps some sinister Masonic symbolism - keep an eye out for any evidence of our destructive past - because new meteor craters are still being found!

Yes, the little home we call Earth may be scarred, battered and bruised....but fragile? I think not

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 09:26 AM
This is an absolutely awesome thread.

I was just reading up on this not too long ago, and was surprised to discover that alot of the items from the asteroid belt were headed right for us!! However, the moon actually acts as a shield sometimes for the earth.

It's actually like hitting the lottery when something remains intact enough to cause damage. But when it does....

Great pictures and info!


posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 09:31 AM
Thank you for posting that information; it allowed me to escape the mundane world of wikileaks, and government decisions to the real world of natural places of age old destruction that created the beautiful places. When the next one hits there's a strong likelihood of large scale destruction that many "terrorist" events pale in comparison.
Thank you!

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 09:58 AM
I know this is a bit off topic but it would be interesting to see what the back of the moon looks like. Is there anywhere with pictures?

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 10:04 AM
reply to post by InertiaZero

Thanks for the reply

This is also rather awesome...

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 10:06 AM
reply to post by Redevilfan09

There are plenty of pictures of the far side of the moon, just google it

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 10:13 AM
all i gotta say is this thread and your pics all of it is awesome . you got my vote.

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 10:47 AM
reply to post by gardCanada

Yeah, it makes a nice change from all of the Wikileaks threads I suppose

I agree, whatever destruction we are capable of it pales in comparison to what lurks in the blackness of space. The universe will have the last laugh.

And it's not as if there's not a lot out there...

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 03:24 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8
Nice thread.

There's an 'asteroid calculator' that's fun to play around with...Earth Impact Effects Program. You can bomb Earth with different types and sizes of asteroid and get a fair idea of the crater size and how far away you'd need to be to survive.

Although it could use some more detail about the effects on life, it shows how the Earth can handle some pretty massive collisions and survive intact.

This vid shows the effects of a life-ending asteroid collision to the soundtrack of Pink Floyd...

It's our world, we live here and worry about things while taking so much else for granted. Somewhere out there could be a left over remnant rock of the Solar System's birth or a rogue giant heading our way. It's always life on the edge...

posted on Dec, 7 2010 @ 04:46 AM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Cheers for that mate

I played around with that 'Earth Impact Effects Program', it's very interesting indeed. One of the most striking aspects is just how delayed the reaction can be if you're a couple of thousand miles away from the impact - not really feeling anything or seeing anything substantial for minutes or even hours after the initial impact.

It really gives some perspective to all of those silly home-made impact videos on Youtube which show a football sized comet destroying the Earth

If the day of days was to come, going out to a soundtrack of Pink Floyd wouldn't be a bad way to go

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